For swimsuit designer Magdalena Trever, the past three years have been filled with many trials and tribulations.
But, this 26-year old Milford High School graduate has just realized her ultimate triumph; having her Maggie May Swimwear line featured in the online edition of the Sports Illustrated (SI) Swimsuit Issue for the second straight year.
“It’s really hard to get recognition in this industry, but I was really happy to make SI again,” Trever said.
“The Web is huge and everyone is going online these days.”
Trever’s all-knitted swimwear is modeled in this year’s SI Swimsuit online edition by Ariel Meredith in Seville, Spain and by rookie Emily DiDonato in the country of Namibia in Africa.
This comes after Maggie May Swimwear debuted in both the print and online editions of the 2012 SI Swimsuit issue as Trever’s bikinis were worn not only by Meredith, but also two-time SI cover girl Kate Upton.
“I felt like I had made it, I didn’t know how big a deal Kate Upton was to be honest,” Trever said.
“It certainly helps sales in stores. It’s hard, but I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for SI.”
More doors are also now starting to open for Trever as she will be working with the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders in March to possibly have her swimwear featured in their new calendar.
In addition, she said that representatives from the influential online French magazine Flip-Zone have asked her to submit images of her fashions for its upcoming swimwear issue.
Trever added that Maggie May is receiving licensing from the MGM Grand and Mandalay Bay resorts in Las Vegas to be sold in its retail stores. She said her swimwear is also being sent to stores in New York, Pawleys Island in South Carolina and Miami, FL.
“It’s been good and it’s getting better,” Trever said.
“We’ve been doing trade shows for the last three years and it’s a really hard business because you’re dealing with women’s bodies and bikinis.”
Trever first spoke with the Spinal Column in September of 2011 as she was starting to make waves in the fashion industry.
Her swimwear stands out because it is not only knitted with unique designs, but it is also made of material from bamboo viscose and cotton.
Trever describes her swimwear as “sexy, yet girly at the same time,” while also being “feminine, whimsical and classy with over-the-top embellishment.”
“Almost all of the yarn I use is from bamboo because it uses less water and it is eco-friendly. It’s better for the environment,” Trever said.
After graduating from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco at the age of 23, Trever decided to apply her skills to make bikinis that were inspired by 1960’s and 70’s fashion and could also double as pieces of art.
Trever eventually took the major step of applying for a loan to start Maggie May Swimwear in her hometown of Milford.
With the help of a very small team, including her mother, most of Trever’s days are spent knitting swimwear and working to come up with new ways of marketing her line.
“You’re constantly going over every detail and there’s a lot of late nights working in the trenches,” Trever said.
“We’re currently working on 161 pieces to send to Playa del Carmen (in Mexico). These past few weeks there’s been no sleep, but I don’t question what I’m doing.”
She added that each bikini goes through an 11-step process and four machines before it is completed.
Running her own business has provided many challenges for Trever. Not only is she trying to build her brand in a niche market, but she has also had to deal with working in a struggling economy with limited resources.
“We’re trying to keep costs down and keep (the swimwear) affordable. But, money only goes so far,” she said.
“Then you go to trade shows and you see some companies with millions of dollars copy you. That’s what’s scary.”
But, Trever has not been deterred and said in 2011 that she started receiving orders for her swimwear from across the country and from overseas, including Australia, Israel and Greece.
Now with these latest breakthroughs, including the exposure from SI, Trever is looking to expand her line beyond swimwear to include knit dresses, sweaters and pants.
She said her goals include seeing her business grow to the point where she can do private labels for other designers and employ about 20 people.
In addition, Trever said that in the future, she hopes to see her company form light manufacturing in Michigan so bamboo can be processed for fabric and other materials for her clothing.
“I want to keep jobs in Michigan and ultimately give jobs back to Americans. I wish people would value American-made products more,” Trever said.
While her path has not been easy, Trever’s passion for her craft coupled with her strong work ethic is starting to pay dividends and win her respect.
Her love of fashion, her hometown, state and country make Trever the quintessential All-American girl.
Trever is already aiming to have her swimwear featured again in the 2014 SI Swimsuit issue and is setting her sights even higher.
“Hopefully I get the cover next year,” she said.
For more information on Maggie May Swimwear and to purchase selections from Trever’s line, visit her website, maggiemayswimwear.com.
To see Trever’s swimwear being modeled by Ariel Meredith and Emily DiDonato, visit si.com/swimsuit.